SD State sponsoring public talk on pancreatic cancer

Courtesy photo: Surinder Batra, of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, will talk on progress being made in fighting pancreatic cancer during a virtual talk sponsored by SDSU April 7.

BROOKINGS – Pancreatic cancer represented 3% of new cancer cases in 2020 but almost 8% of cancer deaths in the United States, according to National Cancer Institute statistics.

The percentage of all patients who are living five years after diagnosis is at just 5 to 10% because far more people are diagnosed as stage IV, when the disease has metastasized, Johns Hopkins Medicine reports.

But progress is being made and that’s what a University of Nebraska Medical Center professor will share in an April 7 lecture sponsored by the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions at South Dakota State University.

Surinder Batra, a distinguished professor and chairman of the department of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Omaha, Nebraska, school, will deliver the lecture on “Progress on Pancreatic Cancer: Where are we now? Plans for making inroads in this lethal disease” at 7 p.m. The virtual talk is open to the public.

Batra’s laboratory at UNMC cloned and characterized several genes involved in the progression of pancreatic and prostate cancers. Additionally, Batra’s group has developed several genetically engineered mouse models for pancreatic, prostate cancer and other cancers. Furthermore, his group has developed various organoids and tumoroids, syngeneic cell lines with diverse genetic backgrounds that researchers around the world widely used.

In addition to the 50-minute evening talk that will be geared to the general public, Surinder will give a scientific seminar at 3 p.m. on “Mechanisms of MUC4-Mediated Progression of Pancreatic Cancer.”

For information on how to join either lecture via Zoom, contact the college at 688-6197 or [email protected] 

Funding for the lectures comes from the Francis Miller Endowment, which was created by Francis J. “Johnny” Miller, a longtime pharmacist and drugstore owner in Redfield and Huron as well as in his hometown of Gettysburg. Assets from his trust became available to the SDSU Foundation after the death of his daughter, Frances Miller Anderson, in 2009.

Miller, who died in 1987, was appreciative of short courses conducted by SDSU because his only training was a 90-day course in Denver during the Great Depression.

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